Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Sexual Arousal

  • Kelly D. SuschinskyEmail author
  • Meredith L. ChiversEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3362-1

Synonyms

Definition

An emotional state triggered by internal (e.g., fantasy) and/or external (e.g., visual) sexual cues, consisting of interacting components including physiological (particularly genital) changes and subjective experience (Chivers 2005).

Introduction

Sexual arousal is one of several components of the human sexual response cycle. It is characterized by changes in physiology and/or subjective experience, though these facets may not always coincide with each other (Chivers et al. 2010; Janssen 2011; see below). Physiological changes resulting from activation of the sympathetic nervous system include pupil dilation, increased heart rate, and increased respiration rate; these changes, however, are not unique to sexual arousal, therefore researchers focus physiological measurements of sexual arousal on genital changes associated with vasocongestion (Chivers et al. 2013). Subjective sexual arousalrefers to one’s emotional...

Keywords

Sexual Arousal Sexual Stimulus Genital Response Subjective Sexual Arousal Vaginal Pulse Amplitude 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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References

  1. Chivers, M. L. (2005). A brief review and discussion of sex differences in the specificity of sexual arousal. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 20, 377–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chivers, M. L. (2016). The specificity of women’s sexual response and its relationship with sexual orientations: A review and ten hypotheses. Archives of Sexual Behavior.Google Scholar
  3. Chivers, M. L., Seto, M. C., Lalumiere, M. L., Laan, E., & Grimbos, T. (2010). Agreement of self-reported and genital measures of sexual arousal in men and women: A meta-analysis. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 5–56.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Chivers, M. L., Suschinsky, K. D., Timmers, A. D., & Bossio, J. A. (2013). Experimental, neuroimaging, and psychophysiological methods. In J. Bauermeister, L. Diamond, & D. Tolman (Eds.), Handbook of sexuality and psychology (pp. 99–119). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  5. Janssen, E. (2011). Sexual arousal in men: A review and conceptual analysis. Hormones and Behavior, 59, 708–716.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Skakoon-Sparling, S., Cramer, K. M., & Shuper, P. A. (2016). The impact of sexual arousal on sexual risk-taking and decision-making in men and women. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 45, 33–42.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Suschinsky, K. D., Lalumière, M. L., & Chivers, M. L. (2009). Sex differences in patterns of genital arousal: Measurement artifact or true phenomenon? Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38, 559–573.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Suschinsky, K. D., Dawson, S. J., & Chivers, M. L. (2016). Sexual concordance across the spectrum: Assessing the relationship between sexual concordance, sexual attractions, and sexual identity in women. Archives of Sexual Behavior.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada